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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  April 28, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm EDT

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the arab spring and spending $1 billion for a house that is only a rental? but first, nerd land goes lego land. we are building a tower of debt. good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry. this week both democrats and republicans were looking to win the youth vote by scoring political points with college students. that is because 30% of students who have no college experience turned out the vote, at least 22% of those with some college headed to the polls on college day. when presidential candidates want to speak to young people, they go back to school, and preferably to colleges and universities in key battleground states like ohio's otterbind university where mitt romney was
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a guest lecturer in front of a group of seniors. >> if you want to get serious about not passing on massive debt to you guys, your generation, this is not a lot of time that you think about, student loans, but in addition to the student loans, you should understand the federal loans you have got. >> the former governor played hours before a house vote approving the republican-backed bill to extend the current interest rates on federally subsidized student loans. >> we believe that we shouldn't put stubdents at risk and that their interest rates should not go up. so we developed this solution to the problem. >> this is the latest in the political play that was both parties vying for the title of savior of the students. it began with president obama taking the student loan act on
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the road. he went to campuses in north carolina and iowa and all of the swing states he carried in 2008. he made the case that when it comes the student loans, for him, it is personal. i know something about this, because michelle and i, we went through it. it wasn't that long ago. we have been in your shoes. we didn't come from wealthy families. we needed loans and we needed grants to get our way through. [ applause ] and that meant that when michelle and i graduated from college and law school, we had a mountain of debt. >> a mountain of debt, and with little help from jimmy fallon and the roots, the president signalled to the young people that the student loan interest rates can be sexy, baby. >> the position is that students just have to make this rate
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increase work. frankly, i don't buy it. >> hmm, hmm, hmm. the barackness meister ain't buying i. >> okay. that is one of my favorite clip of the week, but the parties are singing the old same song, because whether it is democratic or republican plan, it is to keep the 3.4 interest rate from doubling to 6.8% when the law expires on january 1st, so they were fighting over who would keep it the same? and for the college students today, here is what the same looks like. more expensive tuition than ever before and unemployment and underemployment awaiting them after graduation which leaves them with limited options to repay a massive tower of student loan debt. when i say massive tower of student loan debt, i mean it. the typical college student has
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to take out not one, not two, not three, not four, but between eight and 12 loans to finance their education. which for most of them adds up to about $26,000 of debt that they are handed along with the diplomas on graduation day, and that is just for undergrad. planning on a master's degree? le with, get ready to tack on another $31,000. want to get a doctoral degree, because being a ph.d. is uber cool? make it $58,000. a professional degree? another $87,000 in debt. it all adds up to a total u.s. loan debt burden of $1 trillion which is trillion with a "t" dollars. honestly, i don't have enough blocks for that. and so far, our political
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parties don't have enough solutions. joining me at the table now are jesse tollkin, and independent youth and engagement consultant, and abby tharp who covers money and politics for politico. thank you both for being here. >> my pleasure. >> great to be here. >> and so don't mind the blocks, but it is a demonstration of how big this mountain of student loan debt is for people, if you are a college student at this moment deciding undera, and underemployment, what are the decisions of the debt in the fall? >> well, if you are trying to get through fall, most of the college tuitions are ranging from 30,000 to $50,000 to $60,000 a year. most american families can't pay for that anymore. they can't pay that for that out of savings or mortgage the home to pay for that and so the students are left with loans which many schools give out like
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candy, and many of these students are not actually reading some of the terms. they are not reading what the interest rates are going to b and they aren't reading about whether or not their loan is accruing interest over the course of the college education and not learning about what happens when they don't make payments on the loans, and not being able to pay back your loans is another issue that the obama administration is trying to deal with as well. >> and i hear you saying that the young people are not paying enough attention and learning everything they need to learn about the loans, but it feels like what are the options when we have college costing what it curre currently cost, and as you opointed out most families unable to pay those kinds of fees, what are the other options for young people except to take loans? >> i don't think that young people have any other options, and the reason i thought this week is exciting is because finally politicians are talking about a core issue that is central to the economic recovery that we need to see in the country. they are talking about higher education. i think that, and the issue of
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rising costs. young people are paying attention and they are thinking about this day in, day out, and it is unfortunate that it is close to election day for the elected officials to turn their attention to this issue, but it is not enough to debate whether or not we keep the interest rate at the same place, because we need to be fundamentally exploring how do we make sure that every young person in this country that wants to seek a higher education has the opportunity to do so? that is how we are going to build the most well skilled, well equipped, workforce and economy to be competitive in a global marketplace. >> well, i want the back up on this a little bit, because it feels like a legitimately bigger, and on the one hand, there is an issue of getting the young people the vote for me, right? i wanted to quickly listen to some sound of mitt romney with him being in ohio yesterday when he told the story of to alternative possibility of getting money for college. let's listen.
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>> we have always encouraged young people the take a shot, go for it. take a risk. get the education. borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business. >> borrow money if you have to from your parents. honestly, i almost jumped out of my skin when i heard that, because clearly the whole point of why we are in this sort of student loan debt is that we can't simply borrow money from the parents. >> well, if mitt romney is on a campaign to prove how out of touch he is with average americans, he is soaring in excellence in that front. the reality is that is so far from an option of where a majority of american families find themselves right now. they are struggling -- >> mom has an extra $20,000 hanging around. >> they are struggling to meet ends day-to-day and facing unemployment themselves, and they need to be encouraging their kids to take out these student loans not as a form of
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being responsible, but as a form to make sure that their children have the very best shot to achieve the quote, unquote american dream. >> so i sense some not suredness about this. >> well, this is mitt romney ding what he does best which is really not getting at the core issues of everyday americans who may not have americans who were very wealthy and loan them thousands of dollars to pay for their education, but at the same time, there is a broader problem that neither obama or romney are talking about which is the economy. it is whether or not people are graduating and even if they take out loans, they can find jobs that help them to pay the loans back. and by and large, if you talk to people who graduate, what they want are job, and jobs they are prepared for and qualified for and they want the opportunity for income growth. the economy right now is not a place where people coming out of college can get the job that
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they prepared for that they thought they were going to college for, and then they are in these jobs, and they are not experiencing income growth. >> so we were looking at the data around this, and we saw that more than half of college graduates are either unemployed, completely unemployed or underemployed meaning a bachelor's degree, or working in their field like retail or something like that. let me ask you about this idea that the main issue ought to be having enough income to pay back the loans, because it does feel to me like there is alternatives that we could have as an american public. i taught for a while at princeton. and princeton has an enormous endowment and made a choice as part of the enormous endowment to create a no loans program where they basically accept students need blind and then once you are accepted they look at your financial circumstances and then provide jobs and grant opportunities up to that point. that is fine, because princeton has an obscenely wonderful
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endowment, but is there a way as we as a country might imagine ourselves endowed similarly. human capital is the most important thing to do in a recession and not loans that people have to get jobs to pay back, but us actually investing, and does that seem pie in the sky in the context of the recessio recession? >> no, that is the idea behind the pell grant program. there are grants that government gives out to the students with the idea that we can give the students money to pay for college, and that is an investment that we as a country are giving to them -- >> but only for the very poor. >> yes, and unfortunately that program has been under fire for some time and it is increasingly expensive, and a in times of economic trouble, it is amazingly one of the hardest things for congress to do is to puts a side money for that program despite that it is enormously popular all over the country. there are a lot of people who want more of that, and want more of that for a broader range of
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incomes, but the paying for it, and the practical paying for it is by and large the biggest problem. >> and the fact is that you have to raise revenue to do it. we will stay on this topic, because i am completely passionate about it and i have a cousin visiting in grad school, and she was on fire about student loans all morning. so we will stay on the topic, and if you like the blocks, i will bring out the kend al and i'm serious. and we will have buddy roamer joining us at the table. i'm not kidding. this is an rc robotic claw. my high school science teacher made me what i am today. our science teacher helped us build it. ♪ now i'm a geologist at chevron, and i get to help science teachers. it has four servo motors and a wireless microcontroller. over the last three years we've put nearly 100 million dollars into american education. that's thousands of kids learning to love science.
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we are back. when president obama has a comfortable 26-point lead over
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governor romney among voters between the ages of 18-34, but the president needs more than youth votes, he needs their enthusiasm. and he is currently facing an 18-point enthusiasm deficit among the young voters compared to the same point in 2008. which could mean the loss of the real youth contribution, one that was key to president obama's victory four years ago. so first, their labor, and voting literally with the feet and working as volunteers on the ground. second, young people use technology and social media in a way that completely changed the game for the obama campaign and all future elections. lastly, the popular e imagination of candidate obama in 2008 was largely shaped by young people who constructed a culture of cool around him. so, yes, president obama needs every vote he can get, but when it comes to the young people, what he needs more is their passion. still with me is youth vote strategist jessy tolkan and
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buddy roamer, and also the president of the young americans for freedom, a conservative libertarian organization and also the outgoing of the columbia university college for republicans. i want to point out that the youth vote while rarely key is important, in a recent poll, people were asked, are you definitely going to vote in november, and it is young people who are still kind of, you know, hovering around the 50%, our parents and grandparents are all definitely going the show up. so it feels like the enthusiasm as well as the action of the young people are going to vote. you are enthused about mitt romney which is why i want you on the show. so, please, tell me, seriously, decode for me the enthusiasm around mitt romney as a candidate. >> i think that before the primary was settled there was
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not a lot of enthusiasm about mitt romney, but a lot of enthusiasm about the election because of a chance to get rid of president obama, and now that romney has won the nomination, you know, he the students on campus who are conservative are going to unite behind him, and they are excited because of a chance to unseat president obama. this election is all about unseating president obama, and mitt romney, you know, is a relati relatively conservative candidate, and i will say that, very conservative. pooh em in 2-- there were people 2008 primary who said he was the most conservative and now people say he is a moderate or liberal. >> compared to newt gingrich or rick santorum, he was more liberal. and so in 2004, it feels like for young democratic young voters, it wasless th less abou
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enthusiasm of john kerry than it was the enthusiasm to get george bush out of office. students in tulane get excited when you come to the campus, and there is an excitement about the campaign that feels like the enthusiasm response that i have sometimes seen, and i doubt that you are going to win the u.s. presidency although you never know, and there is something that feels like that you have captured with the young people that these other candidates might be able to learn about. >> when i go to tulane for example as i did a week ago. a huge crowd. they realize when i was governor we handled student loans. here is how we did. no loans. we gave full college tuition for in-state students who wanted to go to in-state colleges. they didn't pay any interest. they had to have a c average out of high school and they had to have the economic stress that
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required some assistance, and thousands and thousands and thousands of louisiana students have not gotten loans, but they have gotten full tuition, and that is -- >> that is permanent -- >> and that was in 1988 when this subject was not talked about in america. i think that the country is in trouble, and i know who is going to save it. it is not going to be the old granddads like me, and it is not going to be the rich cats on wall street, and it is not going to be the lobbyists on k-street, but the young people, because they changed the world. civil rights, i was there and i'm an old man. i was 68 and i remember growing up on a cotton farm and marching when i was a kid with my mama and daddy in those marches and young people changed america. dr. martin luther king was 26 years old when he led that march. i remember being in college when we stopped the vietnam war, and just little skinny fuzzy-headed
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guys like me out on the street. the same thing is true about america and this country is in trouble. i'm not putting obama down, but i don't think that the economic policies are good. this is the weakest recovery in the history of the country, and it was said right here by this young lady when she put her finger on it. the biggest problem with student loans is the lack of job, because with that you don't drive anything in this economy. >> jessy, i want to pull you in on this a little bit. >> thanks. >> yes. >> in part, because you were in 2008 working really hard to register young voters for president obama. will you be back out there doing that sort of thing again? >> well, i have spent a decade trying to increase the power of the youth vote n. 2004 historic 11% increase and another historic increase in 2008. in 2008 i was registering voters who wanted a clean and just economy and in turn that meant supporting barack obama for president.
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there is no question in my mind that barack obama is the better candidate for my generation, for millennials and he had an all-star week. this week, president obama looked like candidate obama from 2008. i think that a challenge is for a lot of young people that president obama didn't look so much like candidate obama for the past several years, right? he was not front and center on the issues that young people care about, and now he came back blazing this week. and there is no question that i think that fundamentally for this country makeing sure that young people participate in the electoral process in historic rates is critical, and so this is why i think it is so importa important, and young people like buddy, because buddy pays attention to young people. he shows up. he talks about their issues, and it is devastating to look that in this republican primary, we have seen historically low levels of youth voter participation. >> so make the case for me, because i think that's right, we have seen historic low levels in the primaries for me.
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make the case for me. >> again, it is a primary, and youth vote don't turn out unless it is a major presidential election generally like in 2010, but on campus most people are apolitical on campus and politically apathetic, and right now people are disenchanted with president obama and they are not going to come out to vote, because they are really not excited by him. >> and primarily about the jobs? economic question? or about the enthusiasm issue? >> it is jobs and the economy. it is not the economy picking up at the pace it should be. you know, they are not getting jobs and youth unemployment is double the rate of regular unemployment, and it is difficult for a university graduate to find a job. >> and it is around this, and this is the tower of debt that has fallen in the middle here. does the promise around trying to do something to address the student loan debt resonate for people? >> you know, it does. it does, and for the first person to address the issue with the student debt is not the
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interest rate, and it is not moving it, but it is dealing with principle on the interest, and it is not that much unless you are talking about $50,000 a year, and how do you pay that back when you get a job out of college making $40,000. >> at the break he said do you know how long it takes to pay that back with the interest? coming up next we will play with dolls to show you how it can be captured. we will be right back, but you have to come back to see how it is done. i promise. unner,marathon r in absolute perfect physical condition and i had a heart attack right out of the clear blue... he was just... "get me an aspirin"... yeah... i knew that i was doing the right thing, when i gave him the bayer. i'm on an aspirin regimen... and i take bayer chewables. [ male announcer ] aspirin is not appropriate for everyone so be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. so he's a success story... [ laughs ]
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kingsford. slow down and grill. we've been talking about what it takes to get the youth vote. romney is relying on his wife, ann, to tell him what women want. so for romney, the best youth ambassadors may be his five sons who range in age from 30 to 42.
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but does america know them known around nerd land as the romney fab five. in the pop quiz, name that romney son. i will tell you something about a romney son and you tell me which son we are talking about. here to take the quiz are jessy tollkan and abby and jason trumback and buddy roemer. which son went to guam for his father? >> i have no clue. >> one in five chance. >> ben. >> it was not ben, but actually very good, because you have to break in on the next one. it is matt. matt is 40 years old and he campaigned for his father there, but you also might remember that back in march, he made headlines and an appearance in hawaii when he said that president obama was great but then he went on the say, i'm not here to talk about obama, but i'm here to talk about my dad.
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okay, okay. we will see if you can do better on the next one. of mitt romney's five sons one of them went into the medical field and he is an internal medicine doctor in boston. which one of the romney sons is a doctor? >> ben. >> you go buddy. and he is 3 years old and the only romney son with blond hair. he is also the one romney son, ben, who does not get involved in the father's campaign, that is dr. romney. the romney sons all, as you can see here have a clean cut image, but which rapscallion son borrowed his father's car after a church dance to get ice cream with his friends and proceeded to dent somebody's car, and which son? >> i will guess tag.
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>> yes, in fact it is tag. 42-year-old tag. and here the story follows that he spent the entire summer working to pay off the expensive debt. mitt romney did not come in to save tagg from this, and he is reportedly a billy joel fan. >> i was going to say ben. >> ben is the answer to everything. >> keep going, melissa. >> the romney sons are all said to enjoy a good prank. which one of the romney sons tried to duct tape his brother on the inside of the bus's bathroom in the campaign trip? >> josh? >> josh is one guess. anybody else? >> i am going with craig. >> it is in fact, josh. this is good stuff. josh is 36 years oold and he enjoys surfing and water skiing, but he put tagg in the bathroom before sealing him in. >> okay. which one of the romney sons
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attended brigham and young university? >> ben. >> good guess. >> i think ben. >> i think all of them. >> buddy roemer, you did it! all of them did as did my mom. and which of the romney son speaks spanish and recorded a romney ad in the primary in florida and puerto rico. >> i wish i had been in florida for this. >> you know my answer, ben. >> it is actually craig romney who is the youngest who spent his mission year s s in the spanish-speaking country of chile, and by the way, his favorite money is "anchorman." i love you for playing with me. tyler, you are not coming back, but we appreciate your coming to talk to us. everybody else is staying with me. what republicans are doing to
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ladies, heard about that so-qaaed war on women? don't worry, because according the house speaker john boehner and john mccain, it is all political hogwash. >> is -- this is the latest plank on the war of women created entirely by my colleagues across the aisle for political gain. >> my friends, this supposed war on women or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric bipartisan operatives has two purposes, and both are political in the purpose and effect. >> outlandish rhetoric, and we will get to that. senator mccain spoke thursday hours before the senate voted 68-31 to reauthorize the violence against women's act and
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now it is the house's turn, and they are proposing their own version of the bill. joining me is abby philip of politico, and former louisiana governor buddy roemer and mona who is a publisher of a topic in a magazine that we will talk about at the top of the hour, and jessy from politico. so can you tell us what are the difference differences of this republican and the democratic bill? >> well, the crux of the controversy right now is whether the violence against women act would start to cover a whole host of other people, gay and lesbian folks, immigrants undocumented, men and women, and so, democrats by and large want the definition to be expanded and they want more money and visas to go towards those programs and republicans have
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said that at the end of the day, it is about whether the republicans can get it through the caucus, and they cannot. and now there is an additional problem with how you pay for the bill. >> and dud buddy, and we are heg this is political hogwash and obviously not reauthorizing violence against women sounds like a war on women, but the republicans are framing it in part as a federal government intervention into the state government issue? >> well, words are important and it is not hogwash. john and boehner and mccain are a little bit incorrect here. we have a culture, democrat, republican, young, old, that has been very slow to accept women as full participants in our society. 100 years ago, they didn't have the right to vote. can you believe that? we have never had a woman president in this country. i have three sisters, and they have taught me so much in my
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life. but this, this needs to be expanded, not contracted. it needs to include everybody, and i don't care what the papers are. they are human beings, and violence against women, pardon for me having the sniffles this morning, but violence against women is something that republicans and democrats and i know that independents like me will stand for and fight for and it ought not be as small as possible, but it ought to be as large as possible. >> and it used to be a bipartisan issue, and relatively new for it to fall along the partisan lines in this way. >> it absolutely is, and i find myself scratching my head, because we are in election season, and winning the women votes is key to winning elections and instead of taking an opportunity as republican candidates to stand up and say, yes, we are proudly going to pass this violence against women act, they are debating whether or not there is money to pay for
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it. they are trying to, you know, from the last segment trying to fund maintain iing the rate on student loans by defunding preventative women e's health issues and preventing immunizations for children, and we have republican presidential candidates like rick santorum o -- like mitt romney who is going to get rid of planned parenthood entirely and shut it down. it is baffling to e m and yet they spend the air time talking about this fictitious war on women. >> and does this feel, again, it is not as though -- and i want to be clear -- it is not as if the violence of domestic violence against women act were not passed, there are other protections -- >> right. >> so is this posturing on the part of both parties? >> well, we have to remember it is 2012 and it is not "mad men" and none of us want to go back
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to the 1950s and it is a fictional show. the hard core hard wing fundamentalist center in the republican party and the supporters and what saddens me the most is the conservative women's group who says things like the violence against the women act discouraging the dissolution of marriage. are you kidding me? women have to be protected to leave violence of any kind, and as you mentioned any human being who faces violence in the home, so it is a war,ed a it is absolutely a war when our bodies and women and our well-being become the tickets for elections whether you want to win or lose, and they want to basically prove they are the most regressive group when it comes to the women's issues. >> and it is not just for elections, because the latest msnbc poll about where women stand in terms of the preferences going into the election, and president obama has an enormous lead over mitt romney at this moment, and 53-43
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lead which is significant lead among women, and it does not particularly feel like it is romney's po igs positions, himself, but romney as the leader of the republican party where you have 10 or 15 votes on the senate floor from republican s for the violence against women act. >> this is a difficult issue for republicans. it is just hard for them to talk about issues that are specific to one group of people. i think it is for a lot of people an anathema of a party to talk about them all at one time, and mitt romney is dealing with this problem where he as a candidate needs to talk to women, but he can't do that by saying here is a program i want to put together for the benefit of women. he can only do it by talking about how women are concerned about the economy at large just like everyone else is, and that is not enough. >> it is like women is a particular group as opposed to
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half of the population. uphold i upholding the violence against women act was part of it and provision of protecting american women and we will talk about why that has caused so much hand wringing with the leading american boys. that is next. you get a 50% annu. and everyone likes 50% more cash -- well, except her. no! but, i'm about to change that. ♪ every little baby wants 50% more cash... ♪ phhht! fine, you try. [ strings breaking, wood splintering ] ha ha. [ male announcer ] the capital one cash rewards card. the card for people who want 50% more cash. ♪ what's in your wallet? ♪ what's in your...your... ♪ you make me happy when skies are gray ♪ [ female announcer ] you know exactly what it takes to make them feel better. ♪ you make me happy [ female announcer ] that's why you choose children's tylenol.
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before the break we discussed that house republicans are crafting their own version of the violence against women e's act and the new senate version includes new provisions and not everyone is in agreement of those like the one giving native american nations the authority to have more authority to battle violence on their own lands, but what could be wrong with that? joining us on our panel is former governor buddy roemer and jessy and jackie who is joining
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us from the native american indian women organization. tell me about the american indian lands and where are they, and how many are there and give me a scope in short here? >> so we have 569 federally recognized tribes across the nation. we have in the reservation communities most ly in the rura communities 4.2 million native americans across the country, and the number is 5 million now across the country. 50% of them are moving toward more urban centers. still, we have the highest challenges with infrastructure, lowest telephone penetration rates, lack of plumbing, water and sewer, and clearly 8 of the
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10 most poverty stricken counties in the nation are in tribal communities. >> all right. jac jackie, i have to tell you that as we looked at the statistics around native american women, and alaska women took my breath away. these are statistics that say that 34% in their lifetime will be raped or sexually assaulted and 39% will experience domestic violence and that native women are murdered at a rate that is 1 times the national average. so part of the reason that i really wanted to speak to you today is my sense that if this matters to anybody, the act around the new provisions are critically important to indigenous women. >> absolutely. there's been studies and reports, and we don't need studies and reports in the communities to talk about what we see every single day. we have tremendous statistics
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showing you the statistics for the crime and rape and abuse to the native women and children. we need to do something about it. but the challenge is that we have to rely on the u.s. attorneys and many u.s. attorneys are five to six hours away from any of the tribal communities, so when this violence happens in our community, we don't have a resource. our tribal police are able to come to deal with domestic violence, but not if the perpetrator is a non-native, because we have no jurisdiction over the nonnatives who choose to live within our community. >> and that is for me the piece that i just want to pause and get you the reiterate that for the audience, because this is one of the major changes that would happen under the democratic versions of the act. what you are i is aing is that you -- what you are saying is that you as a sovereign nation, indian nations are sovereign nations do not have the authority to prosecute against
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people who commit crimes against women if they are not members of the nation and are indigenous -- >> right. a native man marries a native man, and which 90% of the women are cohabitating with a non-native man, and they choose to have a solid intimate relationship with a native woman, our tribal courts and police officers do not have any authorities to protect that native woman in the cases of domestic violence or to be able to have any jurisdiction over them, period. >> i want to back up. we have only a few seconds here, but i want to sort of give you a chance to jump back in here, because you were saying that part of the problem of the republicans facing is, is it for everybody, and as i met and talked with jackie pata about it, i say literally about everybody and not having these protections to allow people to fall through the cracks. >> it is difficult for the
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republicans who many of them are not supportive of the gay marriage or the homosexual relationships or the undocumented workers in the country to take a provision that lumps the groups together all at once, and on capitol hill that is the problem often when you have additions to bills, and they are usually coming together in one piece and taking them apart is not very easy, and the republicans are balking at having to vote for things that some things that they don't want to vote forother things. we can have a debate whether all of them should be included or not, but from the perspective of the republicans and the ideological differences of the democrats, that is the crux of the problem. >> thank you, jackie pata, and i thank you for joining us from washington to clarify where we are on this issue. >> thank you. coming up, why after all of that, i might make an argument that will is not actually a war on women. but you didn't think that i would say that? but that is up next. ragers, tho.
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we have all been talking about a war on women in america. at first all of the war talk had me stockpiling supplies and wondering if i should run for the hills or stop, drop and roll, and then it hit me. there is no war on women, and you didn't think that i would say that? chillax, my fellow women feminist, because we are in the massive effort to roll back women's rights, but i take issue of the word war. war means specific especially for those who have lived through the war, and i think that you need to be careful with how you use the words. now i wa bt to urge the folks to say no to hyperbole and cliches aed on the help out, i want to introduce the mhp's guide of what n what not to say in political conversation. unless someone is shooting at you or about to drop a bomb on your head, you are not at war. good-bye to the war on women, the war on the poor, the war on terrorism, and other falsely
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created notions of war. war talk too often distracts us from understanding the complexity of policy. number two, leave the stars in the sky, and from this point on, we are banning rock star and rising star to describe up and coming politicians. i prefer my rock stars in concert and not office. besides it is easier when someone's career does not pan out the way we predicted, charlie crist. number three, unless we are talking about the thing that keeps trespassers off of the porch or certain large building in washington then the word gate needs to go bye-bye. no more nannygate, troopergate. bye-bye. a person is not a secret weapon. ann romney and other people are not secret weapon, because they are right there on stage. i don't like to be objectfied.
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and five, the latest political crisis is not someone's katrina or tahrir. it is wone thing to try to talk about people and another to coopt them. so without all of the cliches, we may get something done in politic politics. and coming up, women subjected to genital mutilation, and public humiliation, and when it comes to the status in the middle east, it is worse than you may think. details when we come back. [ male announcer ] if you think tylenol
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laces? really? slip-on's the way to go. more people do that, security would be like -- there's no charge for the bag. thanks. i know a quiet little place where we can get some work done. there's a three-prong plug. i have club passes. [ male announcer ] get the mileage card with special perks on united, like a free checked bag, united club passes, and priority boarding. thanks. ♪ okay. what's your secret? [ male announcer ] the united mileageplus explorer card. get it and you're in. why do they hate us? that is a refrain we heard after september 11th, 2001, and a time when emotions were very raw. on the cover of a foreign policy magazine today that same question is asked by our guest
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egyptian writer mona eltahawy. her new and provocative article "why do they hate us" is directed at the men in the muslim world and the misogyne that is so systemic in the cu cultures of that region. with whatever freedoms have been won in the arab spring uprisings, it is important to ask how many have been gained for women in that region, and mona addressed that right off of the top of the piece. she said, when 90% of the women including my mother and all but one of her six sisters have had their genitals excised, where are the rights? for those who have not had an opportunity to read your piece,
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what is the argument in the piece? >> in egypt we removed hosni mew ba -- hosni mubarak, the president who oppressed us for 0 years. we want to remove the mubarak in the mind, on the streets and in our homes. the mubarak regime repressed women, and that is misogyne so i am saying that the firestorm that started with the man who set himself on fire in tunisia, and the women who have gone out to participate in the rev lugts -- revolutions, and they will suffer from them, and we will continue through the revolution of the mind which is to remove the mubarak of the mind. >> when you talk about misogyne, this piece grabs any reader in the gut, because it is not about
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are we nice to women or mean things to women or pressures around women, you list a set of structural atrocities facing women in the region. talk to me a little bit about those. >> i talk about a provision in the egyptian law that says if a husband beats his wife with so-called good intentions, he will get a reduced sentence. i take about child marriage in yemen which is unfortunately gets support by some clerics who say they can give it religious justification, and the day that my article came out and some people got so upset, the grand mumdi came out with outrageous statements. i realize that makes us look bad, but that is the whole point. it is not me who makes us look bad, but it is the atrocities that make us look bad, and as a writer, aim to poke the painful pieces. this essay is the first one i
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wrote with ten fingers, because the egyptian police broke my fingers and sas saulted me, and so i speak with facts and statistics and i know that the people on the ground are fighting this. some women say that arab women don't have agency, but quite the contrary, because i list the activists who fight against the military injustices and activists who fight against the clerics who say that the girls are ready to be married. but i sent this out as a great excitement at the kacall of the resolution of the mind now that end ends the misogyne, the political resolution will fail. >> this challenge you are i areg out to me feels similar to western civil rights movement as well, so i start in trepidation with this, because i know that the critiques of this is the very idea that the western press and those who are not from this
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nation and who are not muslim ourselves and not part of the traditions can look at the article and say, look at how horrible those men or those societies or that religion is, and it is something that is part of for example we have an underreporting of rape and domestic violence in african-american communities, because we know that the violence enacted on black men by police, so we often don't call, right? >> absolutely. >> so how to balance the challenge of a recognition of how the western view, which is often has been a real war, right, so that the war on terrorism, and that is a real war that is actively killing people in these communities, in these cities and in these nations over and against the concern over women, and how to manage that? >> you described that beautifully. as an arab and as a muslim and feminist, and all of the identities that i balance and as an egyptian and american, to me, gender trumps everything. i will not be made to choose
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between those things and not look at gender. the same issues when alice walker wrote her book. the point of the essay is that can we for once focus on my part of the world and talk about what is really happening? because i end the essay by saying this, i don't say come and invade me and rescue us, because we don't need to be rescued, because women are getting their arms broken fighting alongside the men, but when you come to talk to our govmts, and they say it is our culture, and mind your own business and i say, this is not made by women. don't fall victim to the cultural relativism and last time on the show, i described rick santorum as the american s salafi, and of course there is violence against women, and we
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talked about wava. >> earlier on the show last week we talked about a woman faced with tissue of rate in the armed services, so as i read the atrocities, they feel horrifying, but more honest than we are honest with ourselves. >> yes, a time to make the connections and say, i have to focus on the community now, but a it is beginning by poking the painle places and ah, you made us look bad, but when the ah finishes, we can sit down and work on the issues there. are tremendous activists work og on the issues, but here in the u.s. we are have a violence against women act, and we need to work better for it, and in egypt we need a violence against women act, and so i am having this conversation in the internet age where there is no such thing that it is only
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publish ed in america, and everyone in the middle east are talking about it, and it delights me, because i am receiving support. i am very, very happy about the support. i expected the criticism, but this is how we get beyond the painful places. >> mona, i am so happy that you want to engage in a conversation about this, and we want to bring in another voice and stay on this exact issue of this issue of particular war on women, and up next, we want to dive into the controversy sparked by mona's piece and add a dissenting voice into the conversation. stay right there. [ male announcer ] can febreze set & refresh make even this place smell fresh?
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we have been talking about egyptian american journalist mona eltawahy about her article
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about "why do they hate me." after the article was published, she received pushback, and joining us is from boston one of the critics, a professor of divinity at harvard and author recently of "a quiet revolution" a veiled resurgence from the middle east to america. thank you for joining us, professor. >> thanks for having me. >> i found your piece to be thoughtful, and can you run through the critique? >> i would like to take up the point that you began with earlier about how when wars are real things rather than metaphors, and i think that is a very important point so that the war on women, i would, there are people who are actually dying from bombs, and you talked earlier about the politics of
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the representations of the muslims and the arabs, and this is important, too, but before i go on, let me make the point about the disagreements and first of all i would like to salute mona for the extraordinary work she is doing, and to give her my respect and admiration for, and my apologies for how sorry i am of what happened to her happened, and the suffering she was subjected to, and i really thank her for my work, and my disagreements with her in no way take away from that. she is a hero to me. now, on the points, i have some broad problems with her generalizations, but beyond, that i also have, i think, a coup disagreement. the broad generalizations, she talks about the arab world from saudi arabia to morocco as if there are not vast differences of them. like the women's ban on driving and she is horrified by that and
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rage is exhibited and that is true, and it is irrelevant to the rest of the arab world, because women have been driving since i know since the arrival of the car. so that is one kind of broadness that is kind of muddies the waters. broadens the generalization. and cliterectomy are troubling and i will not go clearly through the whole article about this, but it is troubling. >> and mona, coming in here for a second, as an academic, i love the nuance, but i also as a media personality know that
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sometimes it is just the straight forward sometimes very loud voice that gets it heard. so i hear the professor saying in part, look, there are nuances here that you did not capture, but i also wonder if "why do they hate us" you capture something else? >> no, i wanted to go straight for gut, but i want to salute professor hamad waw amed who is hero, because when i was struggling with the head scarffes and overwhelmed and reading her work really saved my mind because it has been groundbreaking in feminism. >> thank you. >> so find myself with one of the heroes on your show with one of my heroes with disagreement is showing that i have grown up. and it is to shake people into a discussion which i love, but of course, nuance. i mentioned saudi ar rabe for the marriage and the car, and for something and morocco about
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something, and statistics and facts of each country, to give as quick a picture as i can, but i can only handle so much, and the issue i want to discuss is the misogyne that place out in different ways, but ultimately a mix of religion, culture and law in these various countries and what do you do about that in a time of revolution and a time in flux. what to do about this revolution? >> well, i want to make a comment on that and another point on that that i want to go on, and just these comments, and you began, melissa, with noting how in african-american communities some things are not publicized because of the fear of racism, and mona, i appreciate what you do, i would love it if you would -- i understand that you want to get the message across and it is an important message to get across, but nuance is not to give fuel and fodder to people who simply hate arabs and muslims in the climate of our day, so these are very important point, but don't
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eliminate things that are important. so let me go to the key difference between us, mona. you see the glass as half empty and more than half empty and i see it as half full. and the main difference between sus that you are focusing on the salafists and arab brothers and that is true, but i am focussing on the people who brought down regimes and dictatorial regimes and young people who believe in justice, who believe in liberty and believe in free speech, and out in the square risking their lives and some of them lost their lives and young people just like you, by the way, and my face is in them, and it is true that the muslim brotherhood and the salafists, and by the way, those who i did not emphasize to bring about the resolution or bring about the change in the regime and propheting there, and it is those who achieved the impossible which the young people of egypt did, and i see
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both the men and the women participating in the fight. i don't see young men hating young women, but they are out for justice, and justice for the wives and the sisters and the mothers, and we do have a new generation and my trust is in them. >> and you brick about ng about point of misogyne in the system versus men versus women in an individual way, and this is some of the anxiety that some of the critics were suggesting as well. >> but to go into that, professor amed thought i focused just on islamist, but i don't, because the law in egypt was put in place under various dictators in egypt and not just the islamists. i did focus on them because they do dominate the egyptian parliament, but many of the countries are living ub der dictatorships and it is secular dictators who have put in the misogynistic laws. and some people have written to
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me saying mona, my father have loved me and mona, i love my wife. come on, i know you love your wife, but i am not talking about individuals, but a system of patriarchy and misogyne. >> part of the response to the piece, mona, it begins with a piece of fiction, a novel which is in fact a interaction between a husband and wife and that is part, that both is compelling, because it draws us in, but it feels like it sets up that husband and wife moment, and professor, you had a different reading on the kind of the ecstatic passion of the muslim prayer and its connection with the sort of relationship that was being presented in the particular piece of fiction. >> yes, well, i mean, i just happened to have both know story and have to have met the author who after this very unsatisfactory sexual relationship with the husband gets up to pray. and mona interpreted it as an
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example of sublimation of prayer, and it is how she lives for prayer, because it is pure moments of joy for her. so it is not about someone seeing religion as a relevancy of life of sublimation, but a central piece of the life. i wanted to bring that into the conversation. >> mona, you want to response? >> well, i never made the point that it was the irrelevance of religion, but the sexual frustration of this wife experienced, she poured into religion. and i also met the author and she is amazing woman and never traveled outside of egypt and only spoke air wirabiarabic. >> that is not true. >> i interviewed her extensively, and she told me through the short stories is getting the voices of the women across, and i think that something that has disturbed me from a lot of the critiques that have come my way is that it is women who are cushioned with privilege telling me that it is
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not as bad as you make it seem, and i'm saying, i also have layers of privilege, which i am very thankful for, but i am talking about the women who don't have are the privilege for example a banker in lives in london critiqued because it is more complicated and of course for her, it s but not for someone in egypt. >> ki gi-- can i give you an example of the complications. the young man who set himself on fire, and ignited the revolution, and not a woman, but a poor young man who is oppressed in the society, and how did this suicide come about? he was authoritied by -- he was ordered by the authorities to stop the cart he was making a living for his family to. he was ordered by the authorities to stop doing that, and the authority was a policewoman who then slapped his face and spat at him and
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overturned the cart. here is -- how do you read this in terms of gender? only women who are oppressed? we have an underclass of men and women and not underclass, because majority of men and women who are living tough lives and not against women. we have dreadf fuful powerful pe who have power in their hands at one way or another at the moment, and trying to cease-fire after the revolution brought about by young people who didn't want this stuff, and they are trying to put this, put their views into it, but a majority of the people, i believe are the young people who brought about the revolution are not for this awful stuff. >> professor amed, i want to give mona the last ten seconds of this. >> absolutely the dictatorships op pres everyone, but the reason for the concern and the outrage in the essay is because after the oppression, there is a societal oppression of women that is fueled by ma sonny and that is why i wanted to have this conversation and i'm in discussion with one of my heroes and so many people are talking
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about this, because this is the way we push beyond the painful places. >> pleasure, mona. >> thank you. >> pleasure to have both of you on here and this is incredibly critically important conversation to have. thank you to leila amed, and mona, who is staying with us. what goes together better than love and marriage and peanut butter and jelly? i will tell you next. ♪ you can't have one without the other ♪ there's another way to help erase litter box odor. purina tidy cats. only tidy cats has new odor erasers... making it easy to keep things at home... just the way you want them. new tidy cats with odor erasers.
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like british royals wills and kate who celebrate their one-year anniversary tomorrow, some things go together. peanut butter and jelly. mac and cheese. beyonce and jay z and of course, money and politics. some things go together because they work. consider this, 9 of 10, and that is how many 2008 congressional races were won by the candidate who spent the most money.
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1$1.1 million was the average amount spent on auk cessful is house rate, and $6.5 million is the average amount spent on winning senate campaigns that year, and for the privilege to rent out 1600 pennsylvania avenue for four years, $730 million is how much then senator obama spent for the campaign for the white house in 2008 compared to the $330 million senator john mccain spent in his losing bid in the first ever billion dollar race for the white house. and 2012 could dwarf those numbers. $278 million is how many the obama and romney campaigns combined had raised through the end of last month. but 10 to 1 is the cash on hand advantage that president obama enjoyed over governor romney which explains six, the number of fund-raisers that mitt romney
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attended in 48 hours this week, and meantime, $35,800 is what 25 people each paid to bolster president obama's re-election bid wednesday and a washington fund-raiser, and then there's this, $82 million is how much money super pacs in support of a particular presidential candidate have already spent this campaign season with the possibility of unlimited amounts to come. the spector of a $2 billion campaign for the white house looms in 2012. but i'm still not convinced that the figure itself is such a p b problem. let's add some context, $2 billion is the annual advertising budget for mcdonald's, and when it comes to campaigns more than $5 billion is spent between coke and pepsi for the ongoing battle for the beverage vote. perhaps the same kind of money spent on the determining the leader of the free world isn't a bad thing, but i can't help coming back to the figure $2.8 million which is the amount of
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money adjusted for inflation abe lincoln spent on his presidential race. that is not half bad, not half bad at all. and coming up, what you need to know about marriage, money and politics. don't go away. in less time. swiffer. great clean in less time. or your money back. ♪ you make me happy when skies are gray ♪ [ female announcer ] you know exactly what it takes to make them feel better. ♪ you make me happy [ female announcer ] that's why you choose children's tylenol. the same brand your mom trusted for you when you were young. ♪ how much i love you [ humming ] [ female announcer ] children's tylenol, the #1 brand of pain and fever relief recommended by pediatricians and used by moms decade after decade. [ humming ]
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i would not say i'm into it, but let's see where this goes. [ buzzer ] do you like to travel? i'm all about "free travel," babe. that's what i do. [ buzzer ] balance transfers -- you up for that? well... too soon? [ female announcer ] fortunately, there's an easier way with compare hundreds of cards from every major bank, and find the one that's right for you. it's simple. search, compare, and apply. on our car insurance. great! at progressive, you can compare rates side by side, so you get the same coverage, often for less. wow! that is huge! [ disco playing ] and this is to remind you that you could save hundreds! yeah, that'll certainly stick with me. we'll take it. go, big money! i mean, go.
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it's your break, honey. same coverage, more savings. now, that's progressive. call or click today. easy label, right? but that label can lead to prejudice and discrimination, and we don't want to go there. so let's try to see people for who they really are. you can help create a more united states. the more you know. [ man ] when i went to get my first new car, my dad said to get a subaru because they last. ♪ he drives a legacy, but i'm nothing like him. i got the new impreza. maybe i should have picked a different color... [ male announcer ] the all-new subaru impreza. experience love that lasts.
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♪ tomorrow, president obama and former president bill clinton will be fund-raising in a joint appearance at the former home, excuse me at the home of former dnc chairman terry mcauliff and this is the first of a handful of events that former and the current president will make together. to gather the war chest needed for the 2012 election. president obama raised $758 million in 2008 is ex pepected meet and exceed that this year which means a lot of lunches and brunches and dinners where the guests bring the checkbooks. and governor romney is setting his own goal to $50 million, and it is a lot of money, but hey, it is going towards choosing the leader of the free world, and isn't that what it should cost? here to talk with me and make
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sense of the big money issue is independent presidential candidate buddy roemer, and abby philip and jessy tolkan and buddy, i'm happy you are at my table, and make the case as well. we determine $5 billion for coke and pepsi and why $2 billion for politics? >> well, i am not asking to get money out of politics, because people need the comparisons and they are not getting free time on television and i have to buy that. i understand that. i'm a realist and i have run in a lot of elections. i am the only guy running who has been a congressman and governor. here is the point. we need to know where the money is coming from, full disclosure and we should be concerned when it comes in overwhelming amounts from a few special interests.
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washington, d.c. is not just broken in my opinion, it is bought. and it is not something that barack obama invented. he's just got it to a science. he has spent more time and been to more fundraisers than any president in the history of this country, and i don't care what party they belong to, or how long they served in office, and he's been in office three years and four month, and this has t gotten crazy. we have people giving $10 and $20 million publicly and people hiding contributions larger than that. the two biggest corporate givers in america four years ago to obama and mccain were guess who? goldman sachs -- >> yep. >> does that sound familiar to you and g.e. >> yes. >> and i heard -- oh, yes. full disclosure, i work for g.e. >> yes. >> so that is -- >> g.e. gave $4.3 million and didn't disclose it, and by the
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way, they made $5 billion last year and you know how many federal income taxes they paid? not one damn penny, you think that there is a relationship? i do. >> i had emotions about that when i filed the taxes this years, i assure you. this is critically important and this is and in the gut issue and i appreciate this, because it is not so much money in politics, because we have to buy the ads, but it is the issue of transparency that buddy is laying on the table with us, that if you follow the money, and broke college students who are not giving money, so they are not getting bailed out, but major corporations can. is that what is happening here? is washington bought? >> it is becoming increasingly so, i this. this election cycle is going to be all about money, money, money. and it is going to be that way in a way that it has never been before, because the super pacs, the committees to raise unlimited amounts of money from just about anyone are now
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swallowing up enormous checks that we really have never seen in this political cycle, $10 million, $5 million here, and $20 million, and what that really amounts to is that people feel regardless of the political party that their votes are being diluted. >> not only do you think it, but we have data that shows that. and we have data showing us that people are less likely to turn out to vote in part because of super pacs. they are saying that something like 26% are less likely to vote and 41% saying that their vote does not matter as a result of the super pacs. >> well, it is important for people to understand that. there is a risk in money and politics that people don't understand what is going on in the political system, and things going on in washington in closed door fundraisers and they don't understand how it impacts them, but i have talked to the individual donors who are giving $200 to a candidate they really like and when i talk to them, they say, i am hearing about the $10 million checks, and i don't understand what is going on and
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i feel like i'm making a sacrifice of my income to give to the political system, and they feel that. that is going to be probably one of the most important factors going forward. >> i want to ask you this, because one of the thing has the obama campaign fy '08 said they never made themselves contributors inand pushed the red button and pavlovian and push the button and give the $10 or the $20 and then it felt like, i have a stake in this, so is that sort of like collecting the money from the small donors is that part of the stake that young people can be part of it? >> it is part of the stake, and we saw in 2008 young people give more money than they had ever given in a presidential e lek than ever before. there is a huge opportunity here for president obama not to fight fire with fire though. and i think that actually could inspire a new generation of voters. in many ways as voters are feeling like it is less and less
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important to vote with the presence of super pacs, it has never been more important to vote. we have a supreme court couhang in the balance and this terrible citizens united decision has to be overturned and as the senator from my great state senator feingold said in a state this week said there is no free lunch in the midwest and there is also no free $10 million donations. so when $10 million checks are going to a guy i love, president barack obama, it is coming with strings attached. >> and you bring up feingold, because i want to listen quickly, because he makes a powerful point, and of course, mccain/feingold, that was the great attempt to address it. listen for a moment to feingold actually in march in radio and saying exactly this thing. >> the trouble with this issue, and i think that john would agree with this is that people have gotten so down about it that they think it has always been this way. well, it has never been this way
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since 1907 and never been the case to buy toothpaste or detergent or a gallon of gas that the next day that money can be used on a candidate. that is brand new. >> and john of course there is john mccain saying that now the consumption items impact politics in a way that you don't mean it to. >> and i think that though there are powerful evidence to suggest that corporations are not going to get away with this forever with consumers. we have seen incredible examples over the course of the past few weeks in part led by heroic groups like color of and lets loose consumers at corporations spending political dollars doing things that go against the interests of consumer consumers. >> you have optimism about that, buddy roemer? >> we are wising up, and it is slow. i am so impatient and i run for president taking no pac money, and i didn't for congress or
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senate and the only one to do it, and i won over and over again. i don't take super pac money. i have a $100 limit. and even president obama when he raised $300 million at $250 and lower last time did not disclose a single name. the law said you did not have to disclose. i believe in full disclosure and lobbyists not being allowed to bring a check. i believe in 48-hour reporting so that politico and the journal cannists who keep us inle forred can know exactly who is giving money for what reason, and by the way, you look at bank reform and health care reform and they are a constitutional disaster, because the big boys gave money. >> and up next we will stay on exactly this topic, and you and i are particularly going to talk about this, exactly where the campaign money goes. stay right there. ♪ money money money ♪ must be funny in the rich man's world ♪ [ music playing, indistinct conversations ]
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them? local tv stations, because in the battleground states this campaign season $2.6 billion is projected to be spent on political ads with 85% of the money going to local tv ad buys and it is not bad to be a local tv station in 2012. with me talking money and politics is presidential candidate buddy roemer, and jessy tolkan and abby philip and i also want to know where we are spending this money, and maybe nothing to do at the presidential level, but buddy was talking about the president spending a lot of time at the fundraisers burk these days if you run for the dog catcher, you will spend 80% of the time making the calls to raise the money, what is the unleashing of these statewide and local congressional level? >> well, at the local congressional level, these candidates have to raise $2,500 checks and $5,000 checks which
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is small change in the big scheme of things, but they are confined to the limitations for their own campaign campaigns, b outside, they are faced by outside groups of people spending in their districts with outside money, and putting hundreds of thousands of dollars on the airwaves to defeat them. that is the big store i are of the cycle. we are going to have more outside money in little districts all across america than we have ever had, and at loft the incumbents are really facing these problems that it does not matter what they can raise in their own campaign committees any more, but it is about who they can amass on the outside as allies to help them out in the outside money race. >> this is my argument about why i don't think that fund-raising is bad. so, just, one might say that we want the uber wealthy to run, because they don't have to raise money, and if they don't have to raise money, they are independent and not beholden to
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anybody, but i like the idea that the candidate has to get scrappy and convince people based on his or her message and get you the hit the red button and give you the $100 and if that is where the money comes from, that feels perfectly democratic with a little "d" to me, and it feels healthy with democracy. >> in theory, that is is very good. >> and that is what people in politics r but it is so far from where we are today sglmt understand this in american politics, 99% of the people give nothi nothing. the money comes from the 1%. oh, you will get a few changes, but the money comes from the few, and they have a vested interest. they are bankers on wall street who want bank reform, but don't touch my bank, and they are big hospitals and insurance companies who want the health care reform, but don't touch my money. >> and are there incentives that allow the money to fix and incentivize it toward individual
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interests rather than corporate interests? >> the difficulty is that most american families cannot afford the spend $2,500 on a political campaign and most of the political districts cannot produce enough money to fund a campaign for the candidates who run there. so you have to find a way to, to keep money, to allow money to be there, but to allow people to raise it from sources that are maybe outside of their immediate constituency, and you also have to find a way to allow people to kind of express a sense of m magnitude na if i want to give $5,000, because i feel very strongly about this candidate, people want to be able to do that, and they want to be able to show their confidence by giving an outer amount. >> and so, mona, we talked about the women and part of the structure if you had more women in office, and yet we know that women have fewer access to resources, and so, if a city
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council race, as a city council race as we had in new orleans just had, and the winning candidate spent $500,000 and won by fewer than 300 votes for a city council race. does it keep women and young people and others out of running for office? >> there is a reason that we have the occupy movement across the united states, and the reason that we are having that, and this is what makes the revolutions in the middle east and north africa on a global level that we are undergoing a fundamental shift between the ruled and the people who rule them or me and the people who claim to represent me, because i, when i look at the people who represent me here in the house as an american, who are you? who are you people? >> where did you come from? >> seriously, so that the shift has to happen, because we are fighting for freedom and dignity in the northeast and africa, and we have to continue to fight the fight that you are rich.
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that is not the only reason that you can represent me. we have to open up the space for more people who believe that i spent five years without health insurance in the country as a freelance journalist, and had i broken my arms then, i would have gone into bankruptcy, and over 400 million americans don't have health insurance. >> but there are solutions, and the solutions are not to give more power to the insurance companies or the pharmaceutical companies and we have to cut through the money, melissa, and cut through the money. there are good minds and better than mine, and larry lessic in harvard who have laid out options for citizens financed ex cal pains of $100 or less, and have more women run and more people run with working interest, and that is what america needs. >> i have a few more things before i cut on this, but i want to give you the last word on, give me the optimistic narrative of how another generation can change this? >> i eternally believe in the
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power of the american people, and i believe -- >> you sound like george bush. >> no, i believe in the progressive revolution that i feel is under way in the country, and ultimately, it is up to everyday voters and millennials and voters and african-americans and women and others to vote and pool the time and effort and small dollars and reward the candidate who stands up to tr interest of the people over the interests of corporations, and i think that it is possible and we will see it. >> i love the level of enthusiasm here at the table, because there is a big uprising occupying nerd land. >> and there are 100,000 contributors and that's why i'm here with us today, governor, thank you for being here. how to get millions of new voters to line up behind your candidate of choice? but first, it's a preview of "weekends with alex witt." and alex has news on a developing story out of los
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angeles? >> yeah, we were a little worried about this. within the past hour, we've gotten word of an earthquake there. we'll bring you all the details on how severe. but we're not going into live rolling coverage. so it's not that bad. let's go with bribery allegations against walmart. we'll talk to the man who literally wrote the book on the company. new word on the prospects of an al qaeda terror attack in the u.s. counterterror officials have an interesting take one year after the death of osama bin laden. we'll bring you the latest on that. there's a new twist in that drama that played out at a baseball game the other day. the two people who grabbed a foul ball leaving a 3-year-old crying are having their say in the matter. that's all coming up. >> the baby made me very sad. >> he's okay. >> good. thank you, alex. up next, we'll introduce to a man who wants to revolutionize the way we vote in america. i think it's about time. do you eve
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we've talked a lot today about the arguments being made on capitol hill this week and heard from many of the usual suspects. but right now, i want to turn your attention to one argument and one man you probably didn't get to hear this week. he, too, spoke on the hill. and this is what he had to say. a little over six years ago, after being released from prison, i stood in front of a set of railroad tracks in miami, florida, contemplating how much pain i would have to endure before dying when i jump in front of an oncoming train. at the time, i was homeless, unemployed and addicted to drugs and alcohol. i had no self-es seem ateem and hope for my future. today he speaks on behalf of millions of formerly enkars
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rated people who have been denied one of their most fundamental rights as american citizens. his mission is personal. of years spent battling addiction, his last criminal charge earned him a 15-year sense in state prison. he is today a second-year law student but he's also one of the approximately 5.3 million people with a felony. and in some cases, a misdemeanor conviction who are denied the right to vote nationwide. like him, 1.4 million of those citizens are african-american men. that amounts to 13% of black men who have lost the right to vote. a rate that's seven times the national average. on wednesday, desmond's testimony on capitol hill was in support of the democracy restoration act. currently felon disenfranchisement law are at the state level. many of these laws are confusing
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and often misapplied and they also continue an ugly legacy of criminal disenfranchisement. the democracy restoration act would create a national standard, a single rule for all states to return voting rights to former felons. and it would give people like desmond who haven't just paid their debt to society but gone on to contribute much more the chance to make their voice and their votes heard. for his efforts on behalf of the millions like him, desmond is our foot soldier this week. that's our show for today. thank you to our panel for sticking around. and thanks to you at home for watching. i'll seal you tomorrow morning 10:00 a.m. eastern when we'll tackle the death penalty and the rezration of the reagan playbook. coming up, "weekends with alex witt." (spoken in mandarin)
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